Texas Trip 2014

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 See photos of the trip to Fossil Rim Wildlife Refuge on Facebook.

March 24—Day 5

 The day started with a short drive down the road to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. Once we got there we

hopped onto a safari van and headed into the land of the animals. We saw addax (a North African antelope), emu, roadrunners, black-and-white rhinos, prairie chickens, and the Mexican gray wolf. We also got to hand-feed the giraffes. Boy were we surprised when they stuck out those long purple tongues! After the wonderful tour led by Jan Bussey we ventured to Dinosaur Valley and saw some dino footprint fossils. Everyone was so excited to see them, especially Bob the fossil guy! We then booked it home to see two new guys, Chad and Slim. Slim took us on a hayride to feed his cows. When that was finished we stopped at the pool for a polar plunge. The brave souls (Jeremy, Jacob, Aiden, Isaac, and Lise!!) jumped into less-than-50-degree water! On the last bit of our last full day we are packing up and making a lovely dinner of B-B-Q chicken. In just a few minutes we will be skyping with Krystyna Jurzykowski who made our trip possible. We will see you tomorrow with our bells on and a few tans.

We love you and miss y'all
Payton the responsible and Golden Cheeked Jacob
Jeremy the Poet, Quiet Pooja, Aiden and the Armadillo, Consillation Rhys, Isaac Scat Man Freitus-Eagan, Our Commander Lise, Fossil Bob, Emotional Marianne, Artistic Chris, Good-Spirited Connie, Wonderful Nathan, and Lee the Beast!

March 23—Day 4


 Our day started with a very cold brisk bird walk (accompanied by goats). We ate a beautifully prepared French toast and sausage brunch by Jacob

and Aiden. After that we went back out to the stone circle for a ceremony of blessings. On our way back to spirit tank, we were able to see the amazing (endangered) GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We then walked to another tank, where we found crazy amounts of fossils. Then we walked back to Habari House on our own, using our maps and our wits. We then got a visit from Mark Pyle, a reptile and amphibian expert. He showed us a large variety of snakes, and after a dinner of spaghetti and garlic bread, we went on a walk to try and find some species of frogs. We were able to see lots of tadpoles, and did see a Strecker's Chorus frog. Then we went to bed.

Rhys & Jacob (and the entire Interfaith Youth Group)
G'night y'all!

March 22—Day 3


 This morning when we woke up we were still silent from our agreement of quiet. Then we ate breakfast made by Lee, Pooja, and Isaac. We then emerged on a quest for animals and other Texan things. We found many fossils and saw many birds. Sadly we have not yet found the elusive armadillo. Luckily we had Scat Man, or Isaac, to tell us who of the endangered species owned the feces. We stopped on home for some sandwiches for lunch and hit the road again. Then Mike the wilderness guy found some stashed slingshots and lima beans. They were all good shots and even let Lee, Chris, Marianne, Bob, and Lise get a few target shots in. Next stop, squirrel hunting! Tragically the hunters didn't see any squirrels and just shot some good ol' cacti. Then we headed back to the ranch. Then we came home for a lovely dinner of mac and cheese, hot dogs, and nachos from Lise, Jacob, and Rhys. We then relaxed with some good free time where boys climbed trees and others learned a cool new card game from Sandy. Then we all took another oath of silence and went down to the labyrinth. It was getting dark so we went on another night walk. So that leaves us here folks! Night y'all!
~Love Payton, Pooja, and the rest of the gang.

March 21—Day 2
Today we woke up to see the sunrise. It was beautiful. The air was really nice; it was about seventy degrees, but there was the nicest of breezes. We started the real day out with a big map hike work. Everyone eventually found their way to the destination in various ways. We trimmed up the new path, found some nice spots to spend the afternoon, and after a while, we hiked back to the main place. We kept up this work until Mike arrived. Mike was a biologist who is really nice and really awesome. He told us a lot of information about wildlife, and along with that, he also told some pretty punny puns. We hiked around with him until dark, where our eyes adjusted to the blackness. None of us could see perfectly, and everything was in black and white. When we got back to Habari, everyone was glad to be back, but also glad that we had done all that we did.

A poem from Jeremy:
"Never had something so dead seemed so alive.
Everything in sight is comfortably in place."

submitted by Jeremy and Aiden

March 20—Day 1: Traveling


Our day started early, getting up at 5:00 am to trudge through damp, heavy snow. We then boarded a bus driven by Elly and accompanied by Herb to travel to Bradley Int'l. Airport.

After many long hours of waiting, a change of plans got us on a non-stop (Boeing 737) airplane ride to Dallas, TX. When we left the gangway, it struck us how warm it was going to be. We changed into shorts and t-shirts, still experiencing some "culture shock," and got a less-than-speedy rental car. This took us to Whole Foods Markets to pick up food, and then to Hammond's B-B-Q, where we enjoyed delicious, authentic, Texan cuisine. After meeting Chandler and Sandy, friends of High Hopes Ranch, we moseyed on down to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, where we got ourselves oriented and accommodated at the Habari house. We sat on the couches and talked about our plans for the rest of the trip.

Everything really is bigger in Texas; even the sun!! [Click on Facebook link below for photos.]

Rhys & Isaac (and the entire Interfaith Youth Group)
See y'all later!

March 20—Coming soon…posts from the Interfaith Youth Group's stay at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Texas, March 20 through March 25, 2014. See photos on our Facebook page.